2023-11-27 Want To See What's Possible With Steel These Days? The Surface Voyager MTB Reveals All - autoevolution

Want To See What's Possible With Steel These Days? The Surface Voyager MTB Reveals All

Recent years have shed much light on a classic bike building material, steel. There's actually been so much heat around this metal that an array of bicycle manufacturers work with nothing else. The result? Unbelievable.
Surface Voyager MTB 9 photos
Photo: Chromag Bikes
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One such manufacturer is Chromag, a Canadian crew nestled deep within the northern woodlands of Vancouver. With the sort of terrain found 'round these parts, you can expect only some very sick MTBs to come out of this team's shops. One such trinket is the Surface Voyager, a hardtail MTB with a construction that's ready to tame your wildest single-track and one that sold out during the pre-order stage.

Just to kick things off, it should help to know that the Surface is the newly overhauled version of a classic bike this team had been building for years, the Voyager, and with this overhaul, you'll see features that few manufacturers still include in their designs. Oh, and Chromag achieves the wonder you see for no more than $2,121 (€1,947 at current exchange rates). But that's a price for just the frame. If you want the full build that Chromag offers, you'll need to whip out over twice that, $5,131 (€4,710).

Now, to get a feel for what's going on, I want you to imagine seeing this bike for the first time. The first cue that may hint that it's made from steel may be that polished shine coming off the frame. You'll then touch it, feeling a cold shiver run down your spine. That's just Chromoly working its magic, and part of the reason why this bike is priced as it is, even though it runs a full Sram GX eagle and RockShox setup.

Surface Voyager MTB
Photo: Chromag Bikes
Ok, so you have some idea of what you could be treating yourself to this summer, but what's the ride like? Imagine a Saturday morning ride on some trails out near your house. You start riding along, but you need to consider the lack of a rear suspension; you won't be making any massive drops. However, the Surface is designed around a 140 mm (5.5 in) travel fork, so the front will take care of any large rocks or roots. It's also dropper post-ready, so get to tackling rougher terrains without worry.

However, a fork with this much travel is bound to affect your bike's geometry, and on Surface, that's more than evident. As it stands, the head tube is set at 65.5 degrees, making it feel as though it's ready for some wicked downhill tracks. So that you don't lean too far back on a bike with no suspension, a seat tube of 76 degrees is used to center you a little better and bring you closer to the handlebars. I am curious as to how that feels with a 122 cm (48 in) wheelbase on a large-size bike.

Surface Voyager MTB
Photo: Chromag Bikes
One thing I found neat about the Surface is that it's designed to be a rather versatile bike, and not just on the trails either. Because it's built with sliding dropouts, riders can even tune the frame to rock a single-speed drivetrain. Beyond that, there seems to be a mount for just about anything you need. You can drop fenders, a rear rack, and countless tube mounts to ensure you have plenty of water and tools during your trips.

At the end of the day, Surface Voyager seems to be the sort of bike that can take whatever mix-and-match ideas you may have and allows you to express them on a frame that's bound to keep you happily riding around for a few years. A machine to consider if you're in the market for a trail-romping hunk of steel.
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About the author: Cristian Curmei
Cristian Curmei profile photo

A bit of a nomad at heart (being born in Europe and raised in several places in the USA), Cristian is enamored with travel trailers, campers and bikes. He also tests and writes about urban means of transportation like scooters, mopeds and e-bikes (when he's not busy hosting our video stories and guides).
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